An Economical Way to Prevent Scaling
An anti-scaling device is helpful in many households, especially communities with hard water. Hard water is highly mineralized water, therefore loaded with limescale, and qualified as incrusting because of the limescale it deposits in pipes, faucets, household appliances, dishes, and kitchen utensils.
Note: while a water softener removes limescale from the water, an anti-limescale agent prevents minerals (including limescale) from being deposited in the water.
Presentation of the anti-scale
The anti-scale is not a device that removes the limescale in the water but that prevents this limescale from settling and forming scale. Before buying and installing an anti-scale device, you should know that this device does not change the hardness of the water, i.e., its lime content.
However, under the effect of a magnetic field or a chemical action, it transforms the limestone into a white powder that does not cling to the walls, and that will then be removed mechanically.
In some cases, the installation of an anti-limescale filter is not suitable. In this case, you must turn to the solution of a softener. To make sure you make the right choice, ask a specialist for advice.
How anti-scaling devices work and their characteristics
There are several anti-scaling devices, the most common of which act either by polarizing the minerals in the water (these are magnetic and electronic anti-scaling devices) or through a physical-chemical reaction.
Magnetic anti-scaling devices are made up of magnets (usually in pairs) placed on the water distribution pipe downstream of the meter. Their operating principle is based on the natural polarization of materials subjected to magnetization. Once polarized, the minerals contained in the water are not supposed to deposit on the walls of the pipes and the heating elements (hot water tank, washing machine, dishwasher…).
Magnetic anti-scaling devices do not use any consumables and do not require any power supply.
Electronic anti-scaling devices also act by polarizing the minerals contained in the water. Still, instead of this polarization being natural by magnetization, it is artificial and caused by magnetic fields resulting from the induced current. The electronic part of the anti-scaling device is, in fact, only a regulation and control unit of the induced magnetic fields, which requires an electrical power supply. Still, these devices do not use consumables (cartridges, refills…).
Good to know: an electronic anti-scaling device never sends an electric current to or through a pipe. Only a coil outside the line receives a low-voltage electric current that is harmless, even if it comes into contact with the water being distributed.
Chemical scale remover
Chemical antiscalants filter out limescale from the water in the same way that a water softener does. Generally, these anti-scaling devices use pellets that must be replaced periodically but do not require external power to operate.
Installation of an anti-scale device
There are two main categories of anti-scaling devices that differ according to the way they are installed. Depending on the type of installation (on or in the plumbing) and the volume of water to be treated (the whole house or a single appliance), you can easily install an anti-scale device yourself or call in a professional to do it.
Anti-scale to be connected
These are either anti-scaling devices capable of treating the entire volume of water consumed by a family or specific anti-scaling devices connected to a household appliance’s water supply. If the anti-scaling devices for a complete house generally require an intervention on the piping (cutting, welding or brazing, fittings…), those for a single appliance are easily installed thanks to the flexible fittings to screw.
Anti-scaling device to be installed on a pipe
These are either natural magnets that are placed like clamps that are tightened around the pipe or wires that are wrapped around the line. Both systems require no cutting, welding, brazing, or pipe fitting. However, an electronic scale remover requires an electrical power supply, which can be either mains powered or battery operated.
Good to know: unlike an actual water softener, the anti-scaling device does not require any adjustment or complex parameter setting. On the other hand, a water analysis or tests with reactive paper strips cannot prove its effectiveness.
Price of a scale remover
A home scale remover is sold for less than $10 for a magnetic pipe scale remover, but some are sold for nearly $900 when they are just magnets…
You can expect the same price or almost the same price difference for electronic anti-scales that start at about $30 and go up to over $2500. Here, the price difference can (partly) be explained by a different sizing according to the water consumption (home or hotel).
A one-time anti-scaling device installed upstream of a single appliance can be purchased for around $15 or $20 but requires consumables (tablets) that you must buy.
Please note: an anti-deposit filter for metals in suspension after the anti-scaling device is recommended in the case of water distribution for a complete house. Also, to avoid faster corrosion of the heating elements of the appliances (hot water tank in particular), it is necessary to ensure that it is equipped with protection against galvanic oxidation. These elements constitute an additional cost that you must also take into account before the purchase.